Tomorrow, pitchers and catchers report!!!!!! Spring training begins. Winter is OVAH! For us in Houston, at least. Sorry about yall still having to freeze up north.
As y’all know, we signed Mr. Ex-Met, John Franco, age 44, with a surgically repaired (in 2002) elbow, to a $700,000 guaranteed contract. Like, WHY? Last year, he pitched 46 innings with a (UGH) 81 ERA+ (5.28 ERA for those of yall who prefer that number) with 36K and 24 BB. It’s not that he’s this GREAT improvement over last year’s lefty, Mike Gallo, who pitched 3 more innings with an ERA+ of 91. SO, other than guessing that he’s got nudie pics of Tim Purpura, it must be the Veteran Presence factor.
Veteran Presence is something that Stat Geeks In The Know like to sneer about,
could there be something to it?
Does the behaviour of one older, experienced guy actually affect the behaviour of younger, inexperienced males? In a positive way, I mean? Duh.
Well, many young pitchers have said that they have learned from veterans on the team. This past fall, I saw Roger Clemens talking to Brandon Backe and Pete Munro between innings during their starts, but Backe did well (at home) as soon as he returned from AAA and Munro never did improve. So I’m not real too sure that it did any good.
But I do think that the older can sure nuff be a good influence on the younger, IF the younger imitates the GOOD behaviour. For instance, this past Christmas, my husband’s cousin’s 16 month old son came to stay with us for a while. When he came, he didn’t know how to use a spoon, drink from a cup and he only said two words, Bulllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! But after watching my twins, who are two and a half, eat with a spoon and fork and drink from a cup, Bull wanted to do it that way, too, and he also started repeating as much as he could of what the older boys were saying. And he followed them everywhere (and tried to steal their toys, of course, and learned right quick that that was not real too good an idea…)
By the time he left 5 weeks later, he was saying about 20 words and was drinking from a cup and using a spoon and fork – left-handed just like the twins, even though he’s not a leftie. Being an honest girl, I won’t say he didn’t pick up a few bad habits from them, too. But the point is that he imitated them. And learned from them. And they’re just baby men.
So maybe it IS possible that our (lousy) relievers can learn to improve from John Franco (and our 2 other worn out old guys, Turk Wendell and Dave Burba) so our bullpen will be less lousy than it was last year. (Except for Brad Lidge, of course…)